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2/2/14 Demonstration to Demand Homerule for NYC Speed Limits.

Since Brooklyn has now been rated as the second most expensive city to live in…perhaps we can work on it not being the deadliest place to cross a street or ride a bicycle.

Motor vehicles are out of control, smashing into Hardware stores in Staten Island:
staten-island-woman-crashes-through-reimans (from the Staten Island Advance )

You’re not even safe waiting for the bus. Tonight (2/1/14) four people including one child were injured in Woodside Queens, by a driver who fled after plowing into a bus stop. Read more here.

Safe streets activists are trying to work towards #visionzero by demanding a homerule on a 20 mile an hour speed limit.

Sunday, February 2nd will be a demonstration:

COMMUNITY MEMBERS GATHER ON PROSPECT PARK WEST WITH 100 ’20 IS PLENTY’ SIGNS TO DEMAND HOMERULE FOR NYC SPEED LIMITS
When: Sunday, February 2nd at 12 noon
Where: Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn (Union St & Prospect Park West)
Sign
New York, NY: Two new bills before the New York State Legislature, one in the Assembly and one in the Senate, would give homerule to NYC over its speed limits. On Sunday, community members will gather to demonstrate their support for lower speeds on NYC streets.

“This is a crucial step in Mayor de Blasio’s push toward Vision Zero,” said Keegan Stephan, an organizer with Right of Way.

“A pedestrian’s chances of surviving being hit by a vehicle are doubled if the driver is going 20mph instead of 30,” said Charles Komanoff, statistician with Right of Way and author of their study Killed by Automobile. “We’re talking about saving dozens of lives every year.”

“Drivers going 20 mph have more time to react in the event of the unexpected, reducing the frequency of crashes,” said Hilda Cohen, founder of Make Brooklyn Safer.

“Research shows that children 12 and under are cognitively incapable of accurately perceiving vehicle speeds above 20 mph,” added Stephan. “There is no reason drivers need to be going faster than that on our residential streets, in the nation’s most pedestrian-rich city.”

From: rightofway.org/demoforhomerule

New Kind of Strap On, for the Snow that is.

Now they laughed at the Snowboard when it first came out, but how about a snowboard for your mountain bike wheels…
Check out the this Colorado company’s new Bike Boards.

bikeboard2

Might be good for ripping it up in NYC’s deep slush.

Here is a video:

An article from Atlantic Cities:

Strap-on Skis for Your Bicycle
By Jenny Xiejan
January 27th, 2014

There are plenty of ski bicycles on the market, but they all require replacing your tires with skis. Colorado company BikeBoards has come up with a much more elegant way to convert your cycle for the snow.

To use the BikeBoard, secure it to the front tire with a pin and strap. Since the bike’s wheels and gears stay in place, BikeBoard can easily be removed.

According to Gizmag, the BikeBoard has a full steel edge, some sidecut and curved tips, “providing float in deep snow and grip and carving on harder, slicker snow and ice.” It works with fat bikes, BMX, and regular 26-inch and 29-inch mountain bikes. The kit for a single BikeBoard will cost $375.

Read more: here.

Instead of Harassment one Precinct looks for Input on Street Safety

Could be a sign of a new era for street safety. It looks like instead of spending the winter harassing cyclists and ticketing them for running red lights in Central Park (no sign that tactic is officially over) the NYPD may actually be trying to reach out, or at least one precinct is.

An idea that spread out of the Park Slope Street Safety Partnership, a coalition of Park Slope residents working together for safer streets, was to meet regularly with their local police of the 78th precinct.

Since Traffic Safety ideas work much better when the police are behind the implementation, this seems like a happy combination to get things done like putting in giant message board on Prospect Park West alerting drivers of their speed.

Here is more about the inaugural meeting from Streetsblog:

78th Precinct Starts Up Monthly Community Meetings on Street Safety
by Ben Fried
January 30th, 2014

Here’s an idea that should start spreading to police precincts all over the city as NYPD focuses more attention and resources on preventing traffic violence: Brooklyn’s 78th Precinct is starting a new monthly public meeting devoted exclusively to how to improve street safety.

An hour before the regularly scheduled precinct community council meeting, anyone can come to the 78th Precinct house off Sixth Avenue and Bergen Street and talk about street safety issues in Park Slope and Prospect Park with the commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Michael Ameri.

The inaugural traffic safety meeting happened Tuesday night. It was a low-key and friendly affair, where Ameri followed up on ideas that came out of the Park Slope Safe Streets Partnership forum last month. The 78th is going to look into putting a big electronic message board alerting drivers to the new 25 mph speed limit on Prospect Park West, and Ameri wants to help keep curbs clear during pick-ups and drop-offs at schools throughout the precinct. “There’s no reason a kid should have to go between two parked cars after getting off the bus,” he said.

Read more: here.

And speaking of a giant message board…here is an idea focusing on counting something more positive then just the amount of speed a car is going…how about the rate of cyclings popularity.
Picture 1
Here is a project (crowd funded) for NYC’s first bike counter:

Check out: hivizpublicbikecounter.tumblr.com

An idea, implemented in the bike mecca of America, Portland Oregon…now you can help fund one here in NYC.

Hi-viz public bike counter
NYC’s first public bike counter! Imagine a counter for bikes, used by community projects around NYC. Now imagine the numbers on the screen are legible from 100 ft. That’s the super bright public bike counter.

Here is a link to their Ioby page.

New Administration, New Critical Mass?

This Friday, 1/31/14 is Critical Mass around the world. Same time, Same place…New Administration.

Picture 5

Union Square North-6:45pm
With the end of the Bloomburg/Kelly Regime and the start of the DiBlasio/Brattan “Obamafication”, we celebrate the settling of 2004 RNC mass arrests to the tune of 18 million dollars. We embrace DeBlasio’s #VisionZero with a healthy skepticism, and take to task the NYPD approach to policing bicycles and mass movements. Does the Regime continue, or do these fresh white faces mean something new?

Still we ride.

Bring: bikes, friends, plans, love, rage, noise, media, lights, cameras, action!

We make the streets!

From this facebook events page.

New Mayor Bill DeBlasio was quoted in response to the 18 million dollar settlement to RNC demonstrators:

“I’m glad the case is settled.”
“We’re going to take a very different view going forward about how we respect people’s rights to express themselves.”

We Shall See…

Then on Saturday, February 1st, 2014–keeping with the theme.

CRITICAL MASS: A TALE OF TWO BICYCLING CITIES
Saturday, February 1, 2014 – 7:00pm
at the Park Slope Food Coop
The Event is Free and you do not need to be a Coop member.

Learn about the Critical Mass bicycle rides in NYC and SF through first-person storytelling, video shorts (two are screening as part of the 2013–14 Bicycle Film Festival in London, Mexico City, Chicago, Istanbul, Lisbon, Milan, with more to follow), and critical discussion. Founded in SF on 9/25/1992, Critical Mass is now an international monthly celebration in more than 300 cities worldwide. – See more at: bikenyc.org/events
– See more at: http://bikenyc.org/event/5728#sthash.m8RVFiWw.dpuf

That’s One Way to Get High, Foster and Partners unveil SkyCycle in London

Whoa, I missed the boat on this one.
Lord Norman Foster is a UK architect who has given us such things in NYC as the Hearst Tower 400px-Hearstowernyc and the new elephant house at the Copenhagen Zoo…Zoo-kbh-2005

He’s also behind the soon to be completed (2016), Two World Trade Center down by the Freedom Tower in lower Manhattan.
Tower22
Lord Foster and his, design firm Foster + Partners has a huge list of architectural accomplishments around the world.

At the beginning of 2014 they unveiled their new SkyCycle plan that is slated to bring elevated bikeways above the rail lines of the crowded London streets.

foster-partners-london-bike-utopia-designboom01

Here is a short video of this ambitious project:

Here is an article about Foster + Partners plans for a 135 mile elevated bicycle super highway from the Guardian.

Norman Foster unveils plans for elevated ‘SkyCycle’ bike routes in London
By: Oliver Wainwright
January 2nd, 2014

Gliding through the air on a bike might so far be confined to the fantasy realms of singing nannies and aliens in baskets, but riding over rooftops could one day form part of your regular commute to work, if Norman Foster has his way.

Unveiled this week, in an appropriately light-headed vision for the holiday season, SkyCycle proposes a network of elevated bike paths hoisted aloft above railway lines, allowing you to zip through town blissfully liberated from the roads.

The project, which has the backing of Network Rail and Transport for London, would see over 220km of car-free routes installed above London’s suburban rail network, suspended on pylons above the tracks and accessed at over 200 entrance points. At up to 15 metres wide, each of the ten routes would accommodate 12,000 cyclists per hour and improve journey times by up to 29 minutes, according to the designers.

Lord Foster, who says that cycling is one of his great passions, describes the plan as “a lateral approach to finding space in a congested city.”

“By using the corridors above the suburban railways,” he said, “we could create a world-class network of safe, car-free cycle routes that are ideally located for commuters.”

Read more: here.

Norman recently gave a lecture for TED, about modern architecture achievements taking lessons from past necessities.

We’re New, We’re Blue…Get Used to It.

I feel compelled to follow this story because I had to endure a lot of bike share skeptics who we’re determined to predict the worst when winter came. During the obvious success of New York City’s fledgling bike sharing program in the warmer months many haters would say…”Yeah, it’s popular now, but what about the winter? What about the snow plows? Their definitely going to remove the bike stations.” Obvious attempts to prove Citibike is some temporary fluke.

Wrong.

The New York Times reports the bike share is here to stay and being used by New Yorkers despite arctic votex’s, black ice and face bitting conditions:

Snow, Ice and Wind No Issue for Citi Bike’s Die-Hards

20140129-122341.jpgOn Eighth Avenue at 23rd Street on Tuesday, a Citi Bike rider was undeterred by freezing temperatures. The bike-share program is open all year.-photo by: Damon Winter / New York Times
Article by: Matt Flegenheimer
January 28, 2014

It was easy to imagine the blue bikes in fair weather, spinning over the East River during the morning commute, or toward the sidewalk cafes of SoHo for a twilight meal.

Yet as Citi Bike, the bike-share program in New York, quickly evolved from curiosity to lifeline to verb, even supporters acknowledged that a reckoning would arrive as the calendar turned to winter.

Read the entire article: here.

1/29/14-Time’s Up Memorial Ride for Pete Seeger

20140128-145438.jpg

Facebook event page

Folk Singer, Activist and Founder of the Clearwater Revival, Pete Seeger dies at 94

pete-seeger-2a
Pete Seeger was a folk music pioneer who could easily get people of all stripes to sing along to old time music, such as “We Shall Overcome,” “She’ll be Coming Around the Mountain,” and “This Land is Your Land.” He was a lifelong environmental activist and founder of the Clearwater Hudson River Revival in Upstate NY.
Clearwater_PeteSeeger
The festival was started in 1966 by Pete and his wife Toshi and is the oldest and largest summer music festival of its kind, combining great musicians and raising funds for the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc. non-profit in charge of keeping the Hudson River and surrounding area as natural as possible. Using non-polluting transportation to get to the festival and camping is always encouraged and Time’s Up has always been promoting this idea with group rides to the site as well as volunteering for bicycle valet parking.
seeger1
Pete Seeger died today at the age of 94.

USA TODAY reports: “Seeger, who dropped out of Harvard University in 1938 to ride a bicycle across the country, quoted his father, Charles Seeger, a musicologist: “My dad, the old professor, used to say, ‘Never get into an argument about what’s folk music and what isn’t.’ “–My kind of guy.

Read the article: here.

You will be missed.

Pete Seeger in the NY Times: Pete Seeger, Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94 by By Jon Pareles.

Coverage of Pete Seeger in depth, on Democracy Now: here.
We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration At The Lincoln Memorial

Pete Seeger perfoming This Land is Your Land with Bruce Springsteen at President Obama’s inauguration in 2009:

Spills and Kills, but no Vision Zero. A round up January events on street safety and traffic violence.

I was taking a bit of a hibernation here in 2014, dodging the “Artic Vortex(s)” and bad road conditions. This had nothing to do with my recent crash. On Monday (1/20/14) I went out for drinks to congratulate my pal Jonathan Beck who you may remember from his bad bike crash in 2010. He has long since been rebuilt with bionics and has replicated a new cycling maniac of the future–a baby girl. Congratulations to him and wife Britt Reichborn-Kjennerud on daughter, 8.5lb Bucklin Solvei Beck, entering planet Earth, 1/4/14. They’ve got Norwegian roots which explains the names and they’ll be using the middle one (Solvei). Speaking of Bucklin…A front basket that I personally improperly installed on one of my bikes dug into my front wheel on the ride home from drinking with Beck. This caused me to do a endo over the front handlebars in a NY minute and land right on my big nose. Luckily the helmet I insist on wearing helped my injuries to be mostly contained to my face. A very nice Park Slope resident, witnessed my face plant and was very helpful in convincing me not to walk to the nearest hospital (Methodist) but rather to take the ambulance he had phoned in. This was a much better decision then trying to walk 10 blocks with a scarf trying to stop the bleeding. The doctors in the ER were helpful, but it did take 6 hours to get a CAT-scan, Motrin and two stitches…but expect NYC ER’s to be overloaded because of all the hospital closings.

So I haven’t updated the blog in a while in my face healing time, it seems like I should put something up on here, seeing as 2014 is my 10th year of writing this thing.

The bike community here in NYC is eagerly waiting to see what will happen with the new progressive Mayor Bill DeBlasio and his recently appointed administration, primarily the police commissioner William Bratton and new Department of Transportation commish, Polly Trottenberg.

We’re definitely off to a rough start with 18 pedestrian and cyclist fatalities since Mayor DeBlasio was sworn in at the start of 2014.
Here is a brief timeline of some of what’s been going on.

The End of 2013:
Once again, Time’s Up did New Year’s Eve right with a mobile dance party bike ride and after party in Central Park at the Belvedere Castle. If you ever get a chance to experience this event, it’s a great way to ring in the New Year. You get to ride past all the stuck people in Time’s Square waiting for Ryan Seacrest to drop the ball. I mean, it’s freezing, but your movin. Here is a quick video:

——-
janette_sadik_khan(photo by Brad Aaron)
Our bike friendly former D.O.T. commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan is out and jumping on board with outgoing Mayor of the rich side of the two cities, Michael Bloomberg’s team. He’s launching a consulting firm called Bloomberg Associates which will tell other cities how to have the largest wealth desperately and not to drink too much soda. Hopelly Janette will get them to ride more bicycles and cars not to see them as road obstacles.

More about the future of Bloomberg Associates from the NY Times.

Incoming D.O.T. commissioner is Polly Trottenberg:
sb_polly_trottenberg-585x450 (photo by: sheepsheadbites.com

A federal transportation policy maker with credentials include working with New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan on the 1998 federal transportation bill and for Senator Chuck Schumer.

Here is more about her from Ben Fried with Streetsblog.org

——–

January 2nd, 2014

Mayor DeBlasio is sworn in and transportation commissioner, Polly Trottenberg meets with parents who were on hand to keep the mayor on task about his promise of working towards Vision Zero. They are also victims of recent traffic violence and lost loved ones to reckless drivers. Vision Zero, is a goal adopted by NYC and brought forward by the new mayor to work towards having zero traffic fatalities of pedestrians and cyclists. Although that number may be impossible to obtain, the idea is to treat every traffic violent death as equally significant and even one death is too many. It is also a goal of a city, to work towards making efforts to make these fatalities avoidable through infrastructure, awareness and cracking down on motor vehicle violations. This seems especially important when for the last three years, around this time, the NYPD has chosen to crack down on bad cycling behavior and making no efforts to curb speeding cars and other moving violations that end up killing people, unlike bikes not stopping for lights in Central Park.

The Commissioner wasn’t aware of this particular demonstration on inauguration day, but the site of it caught her attention and she made time to find out what the people holding the vision zero signs had to say:

Trottenberg Meets Parents of Traffic Violence Victims at Inauguration. by Stephen Miller.

Incoming Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, right, speaks with Amy Cohen, whose 12-year-old son was killed by a driver on Prospect Park West. Photo: Stephen Miller

Mayor DeBlasio introduces the new police commissioner William Bratton at a press conference. Bratton a former NYC police commissioner in NYC (1994-96) has been in Los Angeles, vehemently cracking down on jaw walkers of those few citizens that actually aren’t driving in a car.

Here is a video from Bratton’s press conference:

Continue reading Spills and Kills, but no Vision Zero. A round up January events on street safety and traffic violence.

New E Wheel Pits Two Startups in a Bike Race

Not only is the new Copenhagen wheel wheel a reality, it also has competition with another similar looking design.

Say hello to FlyKly.

The Copenhagen wheel is designed with M.I.T engineers and is coming out of Boston.

FlyKly is lead by CEO Niko Kansek who has experience with his own line of electric bicycles and derives from New York.

So forget about the Red Socks vs Yankees. Both companies are battling to get their smart wheels out to the public and cash in on this new technology.

Here is more for the Boston Globe:

Two startups in high-tech bike race

Upstarts aiming to reinvent cycling produce remarkably similar batterybacked, smartphoneenabled wheels
By Michael B. Farrell
December 16th, 2013

20131216-135333.jpg

So who really reinvented this bicycle wheel?

Two startups unveiled high-tech bicycle wheels within weeks of each other in October that both said would revolutionize cycling.

As for their specialized, battery-backed wheels, well, they look oddly similar. Both have a striking number of the same features, too. And both upstarts profess to use groundbreaking technology that can turn most any standard bike into a hybrid e-bike controlled with the touch of a smartphone.

Read more: here.

Ok, here’s a question. Supposedly all those electric bicycles that deliver your food and seem to be in great abundance are illegal in NYC as we recently discovered on NPR. So does that mean these wheels could be subject to the same laws?